Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ferrari Ki Sawaari is simplistic and heartwarming storytelling, just not at its best

RajKumar Hirani is arguably considered India's most commercially successful director, with 3 Idiots still holding on to the tag of being the highest grosser of all time at the Box Office, even after almost 3 years of its release. Hence, if Hirani associates himself with a film in any way, its not just happenstance that gargantuan expectations become invisibly attached to the film which is still in the making. Ferrari Ki Sawaari is one such little film, produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra Films. 3 Idiots had grated VVC Films with much more than a virile platform to build on and cash in on the ongoing success, as there was no reason why financiers, distributors and the audience not trust them after delivering such an astounding hit. Most production houses would have jumped on the brazen band wagon and churned out a lot of similar stuff, garnish it with stars or at least have a release from the same team next year. However, all the ruse ideologies that come in with the business of cinema have got nothing on Vidhu Vinod Chopra himself. Ferrari Ki Sawaari is the 15th venture to come out of VVC Films in over 30 years. VVC makes a movie when he feels like it and invests all the efforts into it. He abides by his policy of no abhorrent gimmicks and no manipulative avarice at all times, else he would not take 3 years after 3 Idiots to make a small film like Ferrari Ki Sawaari with Sharman Joshi and Boman Irani as the leads. Probably this is why VVC is respected immensely in the film fraternity and the recently conducted VVC Films Festival in Mumbai is a testimony of that. Even though its not directed by Hirani or Chopra, their coming together as a team had rendered a heavy baggage of hopes on Ferrari Ki Sawaari, and just like its makers, its one of the most brutally honest films made in some reasonable time, just that it never transcends that honesty into greatness.

In the opening scene of the movie, Sharman Joshi's character breaks a traffic signal illegally but having gotten away with it, he goes to the nearest police post to plead guilty and forces the officer to fine him. Amongst a barrage of crassest of movies that are passed off as family entertainment, Ferrari Ki Sawaari comes in as a fresh air of complete family cinema, told with striking simplicity. Yes, the theater I was at was amusingly overflowing with dozens of kids and their parents, coming in numbers for wholesome family time. Good intentions of the narrative, simplicity of the characters, heartfelt treatment and cerebral themes are the most essential ingredients of all Raju Hirani films. Ferrari Ki Sawaari, directed by debutante Rajesh Mapuskar, is profusely topped with all of these, but where it goes wrong is that the simplicity rests its roots in a bout of cliches and a scattered screenplay. FKS chugs along smoothly setting up a typical Parsi home where Cricket runs in the blood. Joshi plays Rustom Deboo who is endearingly fatuous, but will go to any lengths to make sure that his son Kayo plays for Team India one day. His father, played by Boman Irani, is a previous cricketer who swans and moons at this dream. The kid is a skillful batsman and has the rapier-like edge to make it to the top. However, the story of a family’s extraordinary dreams doesnt really takes off despite a lot of meek efforts. You are only sporadically involved in the narrative probably because the focus shifts from the cricket to the Ferrari story more abruptly than you want it to, and the reconcilation from the shift over the rest of the movie is rather contrived and cringe-worthy. A family of cricketers, unfathomable goodness, bad history with Cricket, a non-believing grandfather, a doting father low on money, the big bad world being of no aid, corruption in Cricket selections and many such under-running themes barely do much more than juggling between the overbearing cliches and some innovative storytelling. There are plenty of laughs and a host of teary moments derived directly from handpicked influences in the writing of Rajesh Mapuskar and Vidhu Vinod Chopra. But the narrative loses sight when it defies logic in the subplots with scant scope. The involvement of Sachin Tendulkar's Ferrari and the track of the local minister and his son are dealt out with overweening immaturity that leaves them stranded between humor and emotion. Raju Hirani films have a mischievous tone and to their simplistic narrative, which caves out more believability in the hearts of the audiences towards the moments or the characters. In FKS, Rustom Deboo does not own a mobile phone till he needs to get a loan from the bank or for instance, Tendulkar has only two people guarding his Ferrari in his absence and when its stolen, they chose to not tell the owners or the police about it, instead of go on an insipid search themselves. Such instances bog down FKS to remain a film that limits itself to underage thrill, unfortunately. It also lacks the seamless-ness with which Hirani takes all his elements and blends it with the elan to drive his point home. On the flip side, things start looking outrageously contrived here. Mapuskar, despite rendering a tremendously heartwarming film, does not go beyond his cliches to do something extraordinary. You love the cheese, but dont fall for the pizza made out of it.

Produced by VVC Films right after 3 Idiots, Mapuskar could avail almost everything that he needed for Ferrari Ki Sawaari. Music by Pritam is preternatural to many of his recent albums, consisting of soft numbers that blend in with the proceedings on screen, along with an item song. Unfortunately, none of the songs have the audacity to stick out or stay with you for long making the music not so memorable. The cinematography by Sudhir Palsane is campy and tepid. Production Design by Sumit Basu and Rajnish Hedao is strikingly realistic lending a natural flavor. Dialogues by Rajkumar Hirani have veered FKS away from a lot of flak because they keep the entertainment quotient up at all times during the 2 hours 15 minutes. They are witty at some times, hammy at other times, but keep you smiling as the goodness permeates through you. FKS could have done with much more organic editing by Deepa Bhatia though.

Ferrari Ki Sawaari relies heavily on its able performances. Sharman Joshi is well suited for the role of a simpleton, just that he seems to be spazzing out into almost a slightly challenged person, in his effort to exaggerate the honest intentions of the character. However, it could just be me who thought like that. For most other parts, he displays a wide acting range in the role of a loving father that keeps a smile on his face in the worst of situations. Ritvik Sahore as Kayoze, his son, is instantly likeable and does remarkably well in a lead role. Most of the child talents in our country go into obscurity after one film but Sahore comes with an innate flair that should allow him to stay. He is endowed with lovable screen presence and virtuous dialogue delivery. Boman Irani steals the limelight in a shorter role as the second lead, though. Munnabhai 1&2, 3 Idiots and now Ferrari Ki Sawaari, Irani has successfully played 4 characters with fleeting grace for VVC Films. As the craggy grandfather and a previous cricketer with an unfortunate past, Boman delves into the slightly whimsical but well-meaning character and comes out with another stellar act. Paresh Rawal in a cameo as the morally schizophrenic old cricketer is perfect. Seema Bhargava is slightly annoying as the wedding planner while Satyadeep Mishra is okay. A special mention for the veteran Deepak Shirke for providing most of the laughs as Sachin Tendulkars security guard.

Ferrari Ki Sawaari twitches and flourishes through its cliches and contrivations but is entirely rapturous and entertaining. It lacks the greatness and smoothness of a Raju Hirani film due to its weak screenplay but it has the right intentions of it. It tries to be inspirational but falls short of it. As I had said earlier, the theater I was at was full of families flocking to watch it. Considering the not so loud marketing of the film and the absence of any big stars, its commendable that it has still made its way through to the audience decently well, possibly because of the names of Hirani and Chopra, and rightly so, because it is a film that the kids will like the most. The Box Office collections are decent for day 1 and I dont expect them to show any huge disruptive jumps considering that FKS does not push itself beyond the average as a film. Watch it for its endearing 'aww' moments and complete family entertainment!

Rating - 2.5/5

is review was originally published for Long Live Cinema here 

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